Balancing Life With an Accelerated Program
Sep. 13, 2016
The decision to take a huge step forward in bettering your life and circumstances by going to college, especially in health care degree accelerated programs like those offered at Concorde, is not an easy one. But the sacrifices are worth the investments made.
However, many students might not fully appreciate the stresses that are involved in the fast pace of health care degree accelerated programs, the time it requires and the quick deadlines. These factors can throw a family or single routine out of whack creating more stress in addition to the stresses of schoolwork and perhaps even other employment. Many students become overwhelmed, stressed and at risk for burnout.
Identifying stresses of health care degree accelerated programs
In an attempt at identifying the stresses and methods of dealing with them, we enlisted the help of Amy Smith, Student Services Advisor at Concorde’s campus in Memphis, Tenn. Below, she lists signs of stress overload, including a link to an online burnout self-assessment, and some suggested stress management techniques.
“Recognizing the signs of burnout and stress overload can make a difference in survival of the fittest and the ability to finish strong,” Smith said.
The online self-assessment for burnout can be accessed at https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/new TCS_08.htm.
Some signs of stress overload include:
- Increased need or dependence on food, tobacco, alcohol or other drugs to relax or feel “normal”
- Problems sleeping or eating
- Increased risky behaviors such as driving too fast, vandalism and unsafe sex
- Increased thoughts of suicide, crying and feelings of guilt
- Increased procrastination or problems making decisions
- Inability to get organized, pay attention or concentrate
- Persistent hostile or angry feelings
- Increased nightmares
- Increased headaches, backaches, colds, indigestion, heartburn and acne outbreaks
Short-term healthy ways to deal with stress
- Take a break – take a short walk, go someplace private to scream or cry
- Prioritize your day – figure out what is the most time urgent and complete those tasks first
- Ask yourself if it is worth getting upset over – you can choose to stay calm or become combative
- Ask yourself if it is something you have control over – traffic, weather, other people are all things you can’t control
- Choose your own goals – are you trying to live up to your expectations or someone else’s?
- Find your support system – have friends and be a friend to others when they need you
- Think positive – when you imagine negative outcomes, your body sends out signals to prepare for danger, creating more tension
- Be realistic in your expectations – you aren’t perfect; no one is
- Accept what you can’t change – be aware which are which
- Anticipate problems and have solutions ready – that can go a long way toward reducing stress
- Manage your time – use a planner or an app on your phone
- Take care of your health – eat right, exercise and get enough sleep
- Take time for yourself – do something that you enjoy EVERY day, even if it’s just for a few minutes
- Learn to accept uncertainty – you will never have complete control over everything
- Be mindful – live in the moment, not in the past or future
- Reframe your worry – recognize your failures helped you learn and progress in some way
- Learn some relaxation techniques – meditation, yoga, breathing techniques
- Use better ways to express or reduce anger and frustration – delay responding if you are angry, mentally distract yourself (count to 10), or self-instruction (yell STOP in your mind, pinch yourself).